Windy with a hint of muppets.

Please remind me not to try and take a closeup photo during a wind storm. It’s not easy. It’s been a typical Yorkshire May Day. Two jumpers (sweaters), woolly hat and retrieving garden furniture from the farmers field.

A fantastic blogger did a wonderful tribute to me by doing a post on her site, in my writing style. It’s funny reading about yourself in someone else’s words, finding out what I had done. Thank you Chelsea, you do me so much better than I do.

Chelsea’s post is so apt and spookily close to the mark. Outside eating with a hint of muppetry was definitely yesterday’s theme. We had decided to mark the start of the week off with a barbecue. Unfortunately the old bbq crumbled over the Yorkshire winter. My first attempt at building a replacement one didn’t go to well and rather scarily was built next to the oil tank. So when yesterday came…

Dad why don’t we just move the George Foreman grill outside like we said we would.”

No let’s have fun and build a fire on the lawn. A proper barbecue.

Not sure that’s a great idea. It’s a bit grey and very, very windy…”

Yes it was blowing a storm but surely man can overcome the elements. So yes we built a rather fine temporary fire structure at a much safer distance from the oil tank. I was quite impressed. It was loaded with what we had in terms of coal and wood.

How are you going to light it.”

Matches…. This is where the plan encountered its first problem. Yes we did find three matchboxes. A remnant from fireworks night. Unfortunately the boxes where full of used matches. Don’t you just hate that. I managed to salvage one complete unused match and one snapped one. So here goes. Problem two – the wind. Instantly both matches were been blown out. Problem three – living in a house with oil heating and an electric oven. We don’t need to light a fire so the house is bereft of spark generating options.

Ok Bear Grylls what are you going to do now. Time for the George Foreman yet.”

Spiriting up my inner Bear I located my camping flint and tried to create fire. Thirty minutes later – nothing.

Dad I will fetch the George Foreman. I’m starving.”

Too late, it started to rain. So eventually it was an indoor George Foreman feast. Today’s heartwarming life lesson

Once a Muppet, always a Muppet.

It’s almost time….

The wonderful Mel has come up with this flyer for something you won’t want to miss which is happening in July.. Soon the fun will start all over again…..

You are invited!

18/19th July 2020

Last year Gary the creator of A Dad trying to cope with the loss of his Partner and becoming a single parent, had an amazing idea. Gary said, “Why don’t we have a bloggers’ bake-off?” Melody the creator of Caramel (Learner at love), thought that was a fantastic idea so started planning with Gary. We asked the spectacular kitchen guru and baking legend Jeanne, the creator of A Jeanne in the Kitchen, to be our celebrity judge…and voila!

The 2019 GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF was an amazing blogging event. We loved every moment of it and were thrilled with the response from other bloggers. We have been looking forward to the 2020 BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF ever since.

However…this year many bloggers have reported challenges in obtaining baking essentials such as flour, eggs and baking powder. Do not despair! You will be delighted to hear that as well as the BAKE-OFF for all who are able to bake this year, we are also hosting a virtual summer picnic on WordPress.

That means that as well as the baking contest, there will be an international virtual picnic and we are asking all of you to bring something along! More details to come!!! Oh we are so excited!

Cue the annoying picnic song!!!

https://youtu.be/jrliJnmYomI

Survival

These are real survival plants. Will grow anywhere. It’s found on the paths, driveways, curb sides and stone surfaces.

Dad have you noticed how often on the survival programmes like Bear Grylls, they frequently have clean clothes on after a night in the tent or sleeping out in a forest. The hair is perfectly combed and they don’t look like they have had the best sleep ever. Even though the camp is flooded. You can’t even look like that sleeping in your own bed.”

He’s right as usual. I seem to have moved from just needing a little touching up around the face in the morning to a full cement mixer and construction team.

It’s as if they had not bothered with the tent and gone for a good nights sleep at the local hotel.”

Well funny you should say that and Bear. To be fair to Bear, I bet all the survival TV personalities do that. Finish filming, erect a shelter then bugger off to the nearest hotel. Actually it’s an excellent survival strategy. Save the tent for when you really have to use it.

I remember climbing in Torridon (Scotland) with a friend. We got caught out in a dreadful snow storm. We managed to get off the mountain but were completely lost. The blizzard got seriously bad as night fell. Couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of us. We found a level spot and pitched an emergency shelter. We spent a cold, damp and very hungry night in that cramped hell hole. When we woke the next day we found a blue sky winter wonderland. We also found that we had camped in a field only 40 yards from a hotel, bar and restaurant. Drat …. So Bear if you want to sleep in a hotel, well go for it fella.

So while we are on the subject of survival skills…..

It’s Thursday so it’s time for our weekly bit of fun. Wow this blog certainly needs that. So let’s have a little dabble with Chelsea Owens and her weekly hilarity challenge (sorry, not sure that came out sounding entirely decent). This week the challenge is

“Your writing prompt?

  • “…[T]here really is no valid excuse for an able-bodied person going out of his head from being bewildered in the big woods so long as he has a gun and ammunition, or even a few dry matches and a jackknife.”
  • Use it or be inspired by it to write a funny SHORT story.
  • Please keep your response to 200 words or fewer.
  • Remember: make me laugh. I can’t see how you’d go this route, but please also keep things clean.”

You have till 8:00 a.m. MDT next Friday (May 22) to enter at Chelsea’s blog

A mouse took a stroll through a deep dark wood

Unfortunately Bear Grylls was in the neighbourhood

Eating a mouse is great television, so watch for the trap

The mouse is caught, consumed in one, the scene is a wrap

Now time for Bear to light a fire with only a wet leaf and knife

Then tell a story about how he is missing a comfy bed and wife

Time to build a shelter from just some twigs and his underpants

Now Bear shows how to clean his teeth using some angry army ants

Look to camera and announce its time to hunker down for the cold night

Then jump in the car, head to the warm hotel and really satisfy that appetite.

Life and a bag of sweets

A beautiful cloud but wow does that hedge need trimming….

You take a photo of a cloud and it ends up giving you another job to add to the list. Everything is connected. Yin and yang. My parents always talked about good stuff and bad stuff being linked. If something good happens to you, immediately prepare for the kick up the backside. Or if something bad has happened, remember to look out for the rainbow.

About a year after my partner died, I was asked to speak to someone who was in a similar position. Spouse had died and was now a single parent. I remember he asked me to think of one positive from the whole bereavement gig. According to my parents something good must have come after the bad. I could think of four positives

  • You get to spend more quality time with your kid(s). Your not sharing responsibility anymore,
  • It can make you into such a better parent,
  • It shows how much you loved your partner (so easily forgotten),
  • We got a pet dog…

So yes good and bad stuff must be linked. So why do I keep forgetting that…

Yesterday I got the munchies. A real bad case of the munchies. I needed something full of sugar and bad for me to eat. Nothing in the kitchen cupboards, so off I went into the garage on my desperate quest. Then a RESULT. I found an opened bag of my favourite sweets. I should have immediately remembered that where there is a good thing then bad is lurking close by. As I walked out of the garage I just couldn’t wait to tuck into the sugar filled heaven. So I started to open the sweet pack on the move. The bag ripped asunder. Bad stuff lurking. The little bits of sugar filled heaven suddenly became Exocet guided missiles. Only one target. The cat litter tray. Yep every single sweet hit it’s target. Only one word can describe that feeling. Bugger…..

I most admit the sweets are proving quite an effective absorbing material for the big boy cat. But once again good and bad are linked. Happiness is intrinsically linked with life farting in my general direction. So that beautiful cloud has gone and left a hedge that needs cutting. Life……

Rose

First garden rose of the year. Ok strictly speaking it’s the neighbours rose. It’s sneaked through a hole in the fence which I should have fixed by now. But I will take this.

Dad what are you doing?”

I was trying to build a DIY fire pit. The last one had disintegrated in the lovely Yorkshire winter weather. Trying to harness my inner Bear Grylls, I was in the zone.

Are the sides supposed to be so uneven. Is it a square, a circle, triangle or pentagon?”

Ok it had some symmetrical issues….. it started off as a square.

Oh, well it isn’t a square now. And the height is all over the place. It’s like looking at The Alps.”

Yes that was an unexpected design feature.

It’s not the most sheltered spot. Not sure lighting a fire will be easy there.”

Didn’t think about that….

Don’t you think it’s a little close to the oil tank.”

Oops I forgot about that great big green tank with OIL and FLAMMABLE written in big letters down its side.

Dad I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t we forget about the fire pit. When we need a BBQ then why don’t we just run an electric extension cable outside. Then we can just rig the George Foreman Grill to work outside. Job done and you don’t need to spend days trying to light the fire….”

That sounds like a better plan.

It’s Coming Back and soon

Stand by your beds my fellow bloggers. Yes it’s coming back. The 2020 Summer version. This year with the added spice of Social Distancing.

Has it really been 14 months since the last Great Bloggers Bake-off. I still can’t believe this masterpiece didn’t win

Notice the attention to detail. The high end icing skills..

So watch out for more details. The countdown has started, soon it will be time to bake.

Birds

Every single day we have two pigeons who plonk themselves on the back garden fence. It starts off all very civilised then after a few minutes, it all kicks off. Gets a little bit racy.

I like to think of it as two Pigeons practising for their WWE wrestling trials. Clearly what we are seeing is a spectacular flying elbow seamlessly transitioning into a deadly Coup de Grace finisher. Apparently son is not convinced. He is picking up the courage to explain the birds and the bees to me.

After an all too short wrestling match (or something else) the two move apart and refuse to talk to each other. So like life really……

So last week it was the last Terrible Poetry contest. To much celebrations it looked like I had hung up my poetry pants for good. Well….

This weeks sees Chelsea replace her old contest with The Weekly Hilarity Contest. This week the rules are

  • Write a short story, poem, song, or really long sentence about Birds.
  • Don’t make it too long. We’ve got real life to get back to.
  • The goal is to make me, the judge LAUGH ALOUD. Whoever tickles my funny bone the best will be crowned champion.
  • As a tip, I generally think and live in a G-rated world. I don’t find crude or profane things very humorous.

You have till 10:00 a.m. MDT next Friday (May 8) to let Chelsea have your entry.

**************

So my poetry retirement lasted 6 days. Sorry to disappoint everyone. Unusually this poem is not aimed at Boris Johnson. However as Boris is a massive BIRD brain, I did find a way to get a little abuse hurled at him – points will be awarded to the first person to find it in this hopefully truly appalling poem. See Terrible Poetry still lives………

Blimey what are those birds doing

Oh it’s such seedy x-rated viewing

Really, on our back garden fence as well

Is it not behaviour best saved for a seedy motel

Surely they are spoiling our gorgeous farmland view

Interrupting our peaceful world with something so taboo

Spending every day exchanging birdie pleasantries

Always trying to make so many more feathered babies

Fooling around as if there is no tomorrow

Oh having such fun and never showing any sorrow

One overriding thought about those feathered huggers

Lashings of rummy pumpy, those lucky little buggers

My excuse is that we don’t use a G rating in the UK. So I assume that G means Generally any word is Good to use.

Ticked Off

Meet one of our gardens true characters. This is Rico. Yes named after the truly mad penguin from Madagascar and The Penguins of Madagascar. Rico is a bit of a show off. Our world is better for characters like Rico and wow does it need it at present.

It’s been another day of Monty Python Government here. First we had the Scientific Officer confirm that the vast majority of first and second infections in the UK came from air travellers returning from Italy, France and Spain. We then had a senior Government Minister arguing that no possible reason exists to justify introducing screening at UK airports. Ok…. Yesterday we had the Government talking up the plan to reopen many schools in three weeks as it was safe to do so. Today we have Scotland’s Government arguing that the science is clear that it’s far too early to consider opening schools. And then we get the Foreign Secretary arguing that only partial opening of schools is safe. Ok…

We have a Health Minister who is gloating as we apparently reached his target of carrying out 100000 virus tests per day on the 30th April. We will ignore the fact that most other countries are carrying out more tests. We only reached his target because he included 50000 test packs which had been rather conveniently posted out to people on that very day. That’s like me sending out 50000 letters asking for a date and then counting all of them as actual dates. After the deadline we have slipped well below the 100k testing target again but that apparently doesn’t matter now as the target has now been ticked off. I tell you what – I am with many millions of Britain’s who are getting seriously ticked off with a certain Health Minister.

AND while we are on the subject of seriously ticked off. Why can’t I bake. After all the years of practice and yet it is still clearly beyond me. Today I foolishly decided to try my hand at a French Baguette. A gluten and dairy free one. It went into the oven looking like something which wouldn’t be out of place in Parisian Boulangerie. It came out like something Baron Frankenstein had created and then immediately binned. It was basically the same shape as a cow pat. It was also as easy to cut as reinforced steel. I can’t even give that to Rico and pals. Thankfully one person is this house has talent. After he stopped laughing Son said

You know what I can use that for. I will paint it and I can use it as a model.”

So my baguette was transformed into a remote island with snow covered mountain ranges, fast flowing rivers and deep lakes.

I bet if Gordon Ramsey had created this, it would have been called a ****** masterpiece and deserving of international recognition. That seriously ticks me off.

Ballet

This photo was taken just a couple of weeks ago. Seems like such a long time ago. Time has slowed down. Sorry I keep saying this BUT…… Is 2020 only 4 months old – seems like an eternity.

Finally watched Toy Story 3 last night. As the credits rolled…

Dad it’s taken 3 movies, 6 hours of viewing and 15 years before we got there. Finally it recognises it’s great to share toys. Its better to let toys go to someone who would love to play with them rather than let them gather dust on shelves and old boxes.”

To be fair to him he does donate toys to his old nursery and charity boxes. But this morning the house is like a bomb site. Toys everywhere. I’m not complaining. It’s good to have a house full of life. It really is. Kids still have a childhood to live. Adults still have a former life of fun to reconnect with.

Like most things in our Son’s life it revolves around plans and order. Being a boy that naturally excludes the important areas of clothes and bedroom draws. He seems to have a photographic memory of all his toys. They seem to come out in a strict annual rota. No toy seems to be missed out. It’s so nice to see.

Having said that. THE PAIN of standing bare foot on a piece of Lego is timeless. That’s my ballet career knackered. At University our sports coach liked to change training up. For two weeks the team did ballet classes with a lovely Spanish dancer. During the last class I split asunder my cycle shorts. The feeling was very airy but it nearly caused a diplomatic incident.

Now back to the bomb site.

Care Bear

The kindly local farmer has been most busy this year. Much needed light amongst the darkness. The Care Bear is well off the path so is maintaining at least 4m of social distancing. That’s a good idea as it was windy.

On the dog walk this morning we saw a number of cyclists and runners on the distant country lane. They were all trying to observe the new social distancing advice. All seemed to be keeping the 2m recommended separation. But is it enough. I was reading an article by a leading virus expert. He said that the 2m separation was a great idea but it was based on quiet air conditions with people either stood still or walking. If the air is turbulent or it’s windy then the safe separation distance should be increased. If you are running then the safe distance behind you (in the wake) needs to be increased by up to 10m. For cycling the safe distance behind is upwards of 20m. Sadly every single person running or cycling was sticking to 2m. So much confusion. So many different expert views. Deep sigh.

One of the great Easter traditions has been performed yet again this morning. Dad forgetting where he hid the Chocolate Eggs in the garden. Followed by

That’s a great egg. Thank you Dad. Is that the last one?”

Slightly puzzled look from Dad….

You do this every year. You can’t remember how many you hid can you?”

Yes it’s only a small number. I couldn’t be sure if it was three of four eggs. Was it five.

Well I’ve found three eggs. That’s a great number but I’d better keep looking. Just in case.”

Good job as 10 minutes later we found the fourth behind the oil tank. I should have realised that when I bought them in February they were on offer, buy one get one free. So why would I just get three…… I will say it before our Son chips in with it.

WHAT A PRIZE MUPPET.

Last year I did the same. Only realised that we had missed an egg when a few months later I found it while cutting the hedge. Then the year before was a spooky one. We had cleared the garden of eggs then when we woke up the next day we found another egg on top of the sundial. I definitely didn’t put it there and it was that obvious we surely couldn’t have both missed it. Bizarrely it was a brand I can’t remember ever buying. The Easter Bunny must have brought that one overnight.

Well I hope the Easter Bunny calls again tonight. This time for me…

After Christmas I went back onto my gluten and dairy free diet. This makes Easter difficult. So I thought that I would treat myself to a dairy free egg. Unfortunately they have been out of stock in our local shops. I guess it’s because they are not seen as an essential item. Just before Home Deliveries became unavailable I managed to add a suitable egg to the delivery list. Job done for Easter. Sadly not. When the delivery arrived the egg had been substituted to the closet available alternative. A packet of gluten free cornflakes. So as people took into their eggs think of me with my bowl of cornflakes. That’s a dry bowl of cornflakes as milk alternatives are also out of stock. But hope exists. Tonight we move to plan b. Cornflakes with gluten free pineapple jelly. The jelly was sent as a substitute for gluten free gravy….

Try to keep smiling everyone.